Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?
Christian Jilka: It is about a history professor, who meets a petty thief. Together they hatch a plan to score easy money. Things go awry when the score becomes a priceless vintage diamond and one of the professor’s students wants in to make her dreams of becoming a pop star true.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
Crime, Drama, Dark Comedy
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
Because it aims to entertain without having to sacrifice its own artistic voice. It is a familiar story (that of people chasing money), but it is told with a fresh new spin and some unique characters at its heart.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
Wild and Unexpected.
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
That is a very hard question to answer, because the films that I like and remember the most are probably the ones I’ve seen the least amount of times. But one movie that really opened my eyes to the sheer possibilities of film was “Love Exposure” by the Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono. Watching it for the first time stuck out as one of the strangest and most fascinating experiences I’ve had with a film.
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
A bit over two years.
7. How many stories have you written?
I don’t really keep count. But in terms of actually realized projects I have written 4 short films, some short stories and a lot of “works in progress”, which will probably see the light of day some time in the near future.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
It is a cliché answer but it’s the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, not only because of its musical brilliance and perfectly structured form, but because it serves as a constant reminder that if we put in the work and time to truly master our craft, we can achieve universal greatness. You can compose the most beloved piece of music even if you are deaf and can’t hear a single note. Beethoven did it, so can you.
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
It took a long time and lots of experimenting to find a satisfying ending. Since the characters are so different from each other, they naturally clash. This is great because it meant that you get a lot of entertaining and thrilling scenes throughout the story, but it made it harder to bring them together at the end and give their collective story a definite conclusion. Even though I always had a layout the ending never seemed to work when brought to paper. In the end though I did come up with something that I really liked and that links the characters throughout their adventure together, while also driving home the themes of the film quite strongly.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I love painting. It really forces you to think visually and challenges you to tell entire stories through one still image.
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
I’ve had quite positive experiences with FilmFreeway in the past. It makes submitting easy and is a great tool for finding festivals.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I have looked at the website and found that it may fit my screenplay really well. I liked the idea of a genre-based screenplay competition, so I gave it a shot and I am very glad I did. The feedback was great and insightful. It didn’t shy away from pointing out things that were holding the screenplay back from unlocking its full potential, while also complementing those aspects that already worked and made it special.
Watch the Screenplay Reading:
A depressed history teacher, a narcoleptic small-time crook and a teenage girl dreaming of becoming a pop star. Three very different people yet they could all use a bit more money in their lives. Luckily, they cross paths when finding a historic yellow diamond which an anonymous collector is offering a bag full of cash for. As none of the three is willing to split the money, however, they quickly become competitors in a game of deception. A thrilling race begins in which only one of them can capture the flag…
Pharmacist: Katelyn Varadi
Melanie: Miriam Capper
Narration: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Graffiti: Gabriel Darku
Oliver: Ted Powers